Policy: March 2015 Archives

Keith's note: It has been more than a month since the Pioneering Space National Summit was held in Washington, DC - an event whose attendees and discussions have remained more or less secret. Other than a paragraph with a bunch of random buzz words nothing has been heard from this group of space illuminati. Its as if their secret meeting never even happened.

Now there is yet another closed door, off-the-record event being held in Washington in an undisclosed location for 2 days this week titled "Humans Orbiting Mars" sponsored by the Planetary Society (an organization that was not included in the list of sponsors for the earlier event for some strange reason). Once again many NASA civil servants will be in attendance and speaking in an official capacity as government officials - but we'll never know what they say since the rest of us are not special enough to be invited - or allowed to listen in. Yet this event - just like its already-evaporating predecessor - has assigned itself with the task of setting space policy priorities for a space program paid for by 300 million people.

Top Space Science, Industry & Policy Leaders Address Strategy to Send Humans to Mars, Planetary Society

"The Planetary Society's "Humans Orbiting Mars" workshop is an invitation-only gathering of top science, engineering, and policy professionals. The goal of the workshop is to build consensus on the key elements of a long-term, cost constrained, executable Program to send humans to Mars. This program would consist of a series of steps leading to a Mars orbital mission and potential rendezvous with the Martian moon, Phobos, in the early 2030s as a crucial step towards future missions that will land on the surface of the Red Planet. While the workshop itself will be closed to the media, a press briefing will follow and a full report will be released later in the year."

Keith's note: Here we go again. First we had the Pioneering Space National Summit - a closed door, mystery participant, no-media event concerning human spaceflight which will produce output at a later TBD date - an event that excluded the Planetary Society. Not to be out done, the Planetary Society is going to have their own closed door, mystery participant, no-media event concerning human spaceflight which will produce output at a later TBD date. The three participants at the press event after the actual workshop are not going to say anything that they have not said a hundred times before and will most certainly give it their own spin anyway. And of course this effort will not coordinate with anything that came from the other momentous space policy event - even though the topics both addressed (apparently) have great potential overlap and synergy.

Yet once again the space advocates will claim that they have accomplished something by talking about things.

Here's a crazy idea: Why not wait to have this discussion until May when the Humans to Mars Summit discuses the same things that these two stealth events discussed except that they do so IN PUBLIC and ONLINE?

While only a few people will actually get inside the spacecraft that go to Mars, everyone else gets to pay for these trips one way or another. After three decades of waving their arms around behind closed doors it is time for these space advocacy groups to get off their asses, step out into the sunshine, and publicly discuss the plans that they have to spend everyone else's tax dollars - and do so by actually involving these taxpayers. Otherwise these space advocate leaders/experts need to sit down and shut up and stop complaining that no one is listening or that no one understands.

Given the slow motion implosion of the Mars One reality TV show/infomercial/pyramid scheme that very same taxpaying public is going to wonder whether any of these humans to Mars concepts are viable. I am not certain that any of the current crop of space activists is qualified to answer that question since they were either shamelessly cheering this stunt on or hiding from the media to avoid publicly casting any doubt.

That said, someone in the space world needs to get serious - about being serious - and they need to do so soon. Otherwise no one is going to go to Mars any time soon.

Related links below


We Need To Expand the Conversation About Space, OpEd, Space News

"But changing the conversation isn't really enough, and that poll shows why a majority of Americans do not support returning to the moon or going to Mars, and just a little over 50 percent of them support increasing funding for human spaceflight. This tells us what our next project is we need to expand the conversation about space, not just change it. All of us who are part of the space community see space's potential. But space is a niche issue for a very simple reason space isn't relevant to the average person."

Keith's note: This op ed makes some astute and frank observations. But then it quickly goes on to utterly ignore these very same observations. In a nutshell this op ed about space activism openly admits that space activism has had little or no effect on space policy over the past three decades. Their solution? Have the same space activist organizations - and the exact same people (activists) - use the same tactics that they openly admit have been ineffective. Moreover they want to sell Congress and the taxpaying public a space policy that they know that people neither want - or understand.

- Yet Another Space Group: The Space Illuminati, earlier post
- Alliance for Space Development Revealed (Yawn), earlier post
- Recent Space Poll: The Public is Not Always in Synch With Space Advocates, earlier post
- Pioneering Space National Summit Details Emerge, earlier post
- Yet Another Plan For Outer Space, earlier post


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This page is an archive of entries in the Policy category from March 2015.

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